For those people who love gardening and don’t have one on their doorstep, allotments are the perfect solution.
This week (13th-19th August) marks National Allotment week. It is a great time to celebrate the benefits of growing your own produce, not only on the environment but also on our diet, mental and physical health. During National Allotment week the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners (NSALG) is encouraging allotment owners to open their gates! This will allow people to showcase something that a huge amount of time and effort has gone into and will hopefully inspire and encourage others to start their allotment or garden. Not only can allotment owners share their allotment for a day, but more importantly share their tips, tricks and expertise among the gardening community!
Visit their website to see if there are any events near you.
Top tricks & tips for allotment owners
1. Decide & plan. What are your favourite fresh fruits and vegetables? Which flowers do you like to cut for your house? Grow these! There’s no point putting so much time and effort into something that you may not enjoy at the end! Once you have decided what you will grow it is important to plan meticulously. In a limited space you need to think everything through thoroughly, what layout do you want? How will you separate your beds? Will they be raised beds? There are several benefits of each way so after some research decide which is best for you. Definitely draw it out, and maybe again just to be sure.
2. Be limited and balanced. Make sure you don’t try and grow everything in your first year, you may be tempted by all kinds of exciting seeds however you will soon find that they all have different growing requirements and you will be left with little amounts of lots of things. Also have some balance; incorporate flowers and herbs into your garden as well because these will attract bees and butterflies that will pollinate your other plants.
3. Weed! The importance of weeding should not be underestimated. It is also great as it will loosen up the soil as you go. If your allotment is covered in weeds don’t try and complete the job half-heartedly. Instead focus on completely clearing one area so that you can use that and then when you have free hours you can continue on the rest.
4. Protect your plants! There is not worse feeling than loosing all of your precious produce to birds! Invest in some netting to keep away birds and some slug traps for slugs and snails.
5. Talk! This is why allotment week is such a great idea. By speaking with fellow allotment owners you can hear about what works best for them, problems they have faced and how they have overcome them.
Allotments in Exeter
For those readers who live in Exeter, there are plenty of allotment sites from St Thomas to Topsham. For anyone who has been inspired recently, or has always dreamed of having their own flourishing garden now is the perfect time to apply. Visit this page to apply for your allotment and then pop in to store for everything you need to get started!
Read this article on Exeter Veg Share which is a new initiative from Exeter University. This is an inspiring story to show that growing your own fruit and veg and eating organically can bring us together and bring something great to the community!